This was hard for me to write and may be hard for some to read. It contains things of a sensitive nature and a recount of a personal experience. Please do not read on if you feel you might be bothered by the subject matter.
The illogic of Buddhism
I am not impressed when I see Buddhism touted as a superior philosophy by the West. After seven and a half years in China, it makes me nauseated to see Western people latch onto any Eastern tradition without understanding the implications.
I am baffled by the illogic of trying to hold onto the Western rationale that built the scientific laws, yet embracing a philosophy that is neither rational nor logical—the antithesis of all that is science.
When I first came to China, all I knew about Buddhism was what I picked up from a textbook and a field trip to a temple in high school. My first impressions didn't do much for the system either. Monks are very distinctive with their shaved head and robes. While there are both male and female monks, males are far in the majority at their temple homes on the mountains.
Yet inconsistency abounds to monkish standards. Monks are seen gambling and smoking around the town and there are a lot of underhanded exchanges going on with benefits and money coming from Communist Party officials.
Peace on the mountain?
I used to go up on the mountain most days to read and pray. I really understood what the Bible implies about mountaintops and how spiritual they are. However, I was not aware of the dangers lurking up there. Being naïve, I thought monks were avowed celibates. Indeed they are supposed to be, but not this monk in particular.
He came up to me asking me what I was reading. In my broken Chinese I tried to explain myself. I probably smiled at him for half a beat too long as I sought to communicate about Jesus... and then his hand was rubbing my leg.
Warning bells rang. I got up. He grabbed my hand. I pulled away. He was not letting me go without a fight. And then he was on me—groping, struggling to pin me. Every time I tried to say 'stop' he thought it was funny. My mind was crying out to Jesus.
Saved from my terror
I wasn't strong enough to overpower him and kicking a robed guy in the balls wasn't the easiest thing to do when he was behind me, with his tongue near my ear and his breath on my cheek. By some miracle I got away, but he was fast advancing. He latched onto me again, lecherous hands exploring my body.
I screamed. He laughed. But I kept climbing to the lookout spot, fighting against him. I called out. That's when something amazing happened. He got scared. He let go and bolted. When I made it to the lookout I found the whole mountaintop was deserted (a rarity in a country with over a billion). I had just gotten away.
My suffering didn't matter
Whether an intervention of God or not, I learned a valuable lesson about Buddhism that I hope everyone who reads this learns too. Like any form of legalistic religion, it fails people. Just like the priests who abuse young boys, Buddhist monks rape. They just usually pick girls (or boys) that aren't going to speak up about it.
A key tenet of Buddhist belief is to wish others will be free from suffering. Clearly that was not the wish for the monk who wanted to violate me. Denying self is an important part of the Eight Fold Path. However, nobody can consistently fight their own desires and pleasures... not without help from God Himself.
Buddhism fails because it heaps standards upon people that people cannot keep. They strive for enlightenment but fail due to worldliness every time. Even the very best of the monks will sin in thought, at the very least. So striving for this unattainable is fruitless and only leads to despair.
It just doesn't work
Perhaps that's why a large amount of the Buddhists in China think they can just pay a sum to the temple to cover up their failings without having to live by the teachings of Buddhism. Perhaps that's why many monks are frauds who do not live the way they purport to.
It's a standard humans cannot attain to. Let people be people and let God be God, I say. We follow Jesus because He not only lived without blemish, but He helps us to attain for more as well. Try to attain righteousness in your own strength and at best you'll be a hypocrite or a failure—at worst you'll be the monk I met on the mountaintop that day.
It's time to abandon failing philosophies and religions and it's time for the West to stop buying into the lie that Buddhism works.
Bridget Brenton has been researching apologetics, philosophy and the paranormal for years. You can check her apologetic effort out at 101arguments.com
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html